ST. LOUIS (KMOX) – Inside the draft room of the Adam Wainwright’s 3rd Annual Fantasy Football Live Draft participating fans competed with some of the greatest athletes in St. Louis sports history.
Kurt Warner, Ozzie Smith, current Cardinals Michael Wacha and Matt Carpenter, and actor Jon Hamm, among others, put their NFL knowledge to the test. Hamm believed he was a little less advantaged.
“When I had a lot more time yeah (I was good), but I just don’t have that much time anymore,” Hamm said. “Of course I’m in a league with Kurt Warner. It’s his job. He gets paid to do this for a living and analyze players so it’s an uphill battle for all of us at this point.”
But Hamm mentioned his real reason for being there was for the cause. All proceeds from Wainwright’s event at Busch Stadium will benefit Cardinals Care, Operation Food Search and Big League Impact’s Global Fund. Wainwright said the event has raised over a million dollars.
But it has also given a chance for fans to be up close with admired athletes. Like Derek Pierson who took a couple photos with Ozzie Smith.
“I’m a huge Cardinals fan,” Pierson said. “So the opportunity to do something like this for charity is really awesome to do. I play a lot anyway so, what better way to spend a Friday?”
Pierson was a bit modest. He is actually one of the top five ranked fantasy football players in the world. He and a few of his partners last year drafted for a combined 235 teams and earned hundreds of thousands of dollars.
This year is says he is in 70 leagues by himself.
“I still have a job like everyone else,” Pierson said. “I work in IT so I have written some software to help me manage and help me do waivers and lineups each week.”
As for one of his Cardinal idols, Smith said he had never played fantasy football or baseball.
“This is all foreign to me,” Smith said. “I wanted to learn what it was all about because I say ‘Fantasy, well what’s the reason, why?’ but hopefully by the time I leave here today I will have a better idea of what fantasy football is all about.”
From legends on the field to power houses in fantasy football ranking, there were also a few first timers fighting for recognition. Cade Meisenheimer and his father teamed up and with the No. 1 overall selection in their draft and selected Kansas City running back, Jamal Charles.
Mesienheimer, who looked to be the youngest of any participant at the draft, sat on the opposite end of the draft table from Cardinals third baseman, Matt Carpenter.
“They’ll be some trash talk coming his way, don’t worry,” Mesienheimer said.
But Carpenter, who tried to help settle some fan debates about the best trash talkers in Major League Baseball, accepted the taunts.
“Trash talk makes it interesting. It’s always fun,” Carpenter said. “I’m trying to stay focused on my own draft so I’ll try to figure out at the end who I should be worried about.”